I couldn’t have asked for a better summer.

This past week was Burger Week in Portland that lasted from August 13th-18th. There were 50 places that were participating, and a burger was five dollars. My goal was to try as many burgers as I could before the event ended. I tried a total of five burgers. I had a burger from Swine Moonshine & Whiskey Bar, Hopcity, Brix Tavern, Las Primas, and Portland burger. Out of the five places I tried, I would say Swine had the best burger. I can’t believe it that I’ll be leaving Portland soon.

It was my first time making a poster and presenting in front of more than 30 audiences. It was hilarious, when I messed up on the quotes. I had it all memorized, but when I was presenting my thoughts were faster than my mouth and I read the quotes wrong. I was relieved when I finished. It was very hard to condense all the information and make a presentation under five minutes. It was an accomplished presentation and poster.

My last weekend adventure was spent biking 20 miles to the Sauvie Island. In total we biked 40 miles which was the most I’ve ever biked. Wesley and I spent some time at the beach, played some frisbee and did some blackberry picking on our way back home. To end the night, we celebrated with a burger from Las Primas.

This summer is one of the best. I had the opportunity to work with NOAA Fisheries and learn all about Oregon. I’m happy I took every opportunity available this summer to meet and talk with people about their career paths and previous career they had. Career paths I discovered this summer are, peace corps, consultants, NOAA Corps, and many more that was never on my radar before this internship. I tried to figure out what I want to do in the upcoming year after graduation. I had plans for the year but no solid plans for after. After talking with so many people, it helped reassure me that there is no right path and there are many unexpected opportunities.

An Adventure to Central and Eastern Oregon

I still can’t believe that I only have two more week until my final presentation and three weeks left in total.

The first couple of weeks, I spent a lot of time researching the Endangered Species Act (ESA) as mentioned in my earlier blogs. I had questions which I did not have a solid answers too. The questions I faced was, what happens when two listed species overlap. An example of this is the Southern Resident Killer Whales (SRKW) and the Chinook salmon. Last week a SRKW gave birth, unfortunately the newborn did not make it. Since then, the mother still carries the dead newborn on its nose as it migrates with the pod. We don’t know how long this will last, and how much stress this puts on the mother. Unlike other killer whales, SRKW feed primarily on Chinook salmon. From what is happening with the SRKW, people are raising question to provide food for the SRKW. Well, what does this mean? This mean hatcheries will have to crank up Chinook production. However, there is a downside to increasing salmon production. Increasing hatcheries production may increase risk towards Chinook salmon which are also listed. This is a challenging question to answer when prioritizing one species over the other could bring one specie to extinction which defeats the purpose of the ESA. This situation becomes increasing complex given we have very little information on the populations dynamics and rapid changes in climate altering ecosystems.

This week I went down to Bend with Wesley, another Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar. We did a six hours hike up to Broken Top. The first portion of the hike was great because we had a huge cloud hovering over us as we climb up in elevation. Luckily the sun was not beating down on us. There was a part in the hike which was very sketchy. The path was very narrow and the gravel was unstable, not to mention there was some snow and nothing for us to grip on with our hands as we slowly move across. Aside from the scary part of the hike. The view was fantastic! Broken top in front, Three Sisters Mountain, Mt. Bachelors and many more. We kept hiking until we reached the lake at the bottom of Broken Top. The lake had no name which is why I think they named it No Name Lake. By the time we had reached the lake we were exhausted, and decided to dip into the lake before heading back to the trail head. I planned on hiking Crater Lake the next morning but after this hike, my legs had enough. Crater Lake would have to wait another day.

On our way back to Portland, we took a detour towards Warm Springs. I heard there was a hot springs there and I wanted to see the Eastern parts of Oregon. The Eastern part of Oregon was of course drier, however the landscape was very nice. Before we reached the hot springs we encountered wild horses. They were grazing along the side of the road and blocking the road. I’ve never seen a wild horse. They were well groomed and their colors varied unlike the domesticated horses I’ve seen. We finally reached the hot springs without running any wild horse over. The hot spring was not what I had in mind. It was a swimming pool with two slides similar to a water park. We came all this way, so I had to get into the water and at least slide down the slides. It was 30 feet high. I wanted to get a thrill in before we hit the road again. Until next blog, that is all I have for now.

Endangered Species Act

My work this summer focuses on the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA is a law that was implemented in 1973 which recognizes “species of fish, wildlife, and plants are as esthetic, ecological, educational, historical, recreational, and scientific value to the Nation and its people.” Under this law it is prohibited to take an endangered or threatened species also known as listed species. The purpose of ESA is to protect and conserve listed species and their ecosystem, so that the species can recover and self-sustain itself without further protection by federal agencies in the future.

ESA is the backbone of NOAA Fisheries and the entirety of work they do. This is because NOAA Fisheries allows authorization of take whether it be direct or incidental of listed species under their jurisdiction. This allows states, privates, federals, and tribes to proceed with their programs knowing they will not violate the ESA only if the program does not jeopardize or imposes any adverse modification on the critical habitat.

Learning and understanding the ESA was a big challenge. The next step of my project is to determine and distinguish the different pathways of ESA. Whether the programs or projects proposed by state, federal, or tribe falls under one of the 4(d) limits, section 7 or section 10, all of which allows some form of take or incidental take. If you aren’t lost already and have no clue what I’m talking about. It is totally fine, because my goal by the end of the summer is to make the processes digestible for the applicants.

The work I do does not involve much field, however I did get the opportunity to visit some habitat sites a co-worker of mine has worked on involving section 7 consultation. In addition, Wes the other OSG summer scholar and I had the opportunity to attend a meeting up in Washington. On our way back home, we took a detour to a NOAA retiree’s house, where we harvested clams and oysters for the first time. Taking about clams, I should cook some now. Until next blog, I’ll let you know about the boat trip and the salmon hatchery tour. 

So much to do.

I am blessed to be an Oregon Sea Grant Summer Scholar. This summer I’ll be learning about the Endangered Species Act (ESA), and how it applies to Salmon and Steelhead hatcheries. Using what I learn I will develop educational programs to help better understand the beneficial and detrimental effects of hatcheries.

This summer I’ll be living in one of Portland State University residential hall. It is located near a bus route where I can hop on and start exploring the different parts of Portland. So far this weekend, I was able to explore the North and East parts. There are many more parts of Portland I haven’t explored. I still want to see and explore the rest of Portland and Oregon before the end of my summer here. Another thing I love about Portland is the variety of food places and food cart. Some blocks are filled with food carts. The food was amazing. I can’t wait to try them all.

In addition, every Saturday there is a huge farmers market right by campus. They sell a lot of local produce, from fruits, pastries, flowers and many more. It is never dull in Portland. There are events all over town.

I love to get lost and wander around Portland. There are so much things to see. I look forward to trying more food and learning more about the endangered species act.